ELYRIA — An attorney representing a Cleveland man indicted on aggravated murder charges has filed a motion to withdraw from the case due to a claim the defendant is trying to negotiate a plea agreement directly with law enforcement.
Defense attorney J. Anthony Rich filed a motion last week in Lorain County Common Pleas Court to withdraw as counsel for Abline Cannon, 38.
Cannon faces charges of aggravated murder, murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, felonious assault, tampering with evidence and having weapons under disability in the Dec. 10, 2016, killing of 23-year-old David Barriero in a home invasion in Lorain.
If convicted, Cannon could face life in prison without parole, Rich said.
“The attorney-client relationship involves not just the casual assistance of a member of the bar, but an intimate process of consultation and planning, which culminates in a state of trust and confidence between the client and his attorney,” Rich said in the motion. “This is particularly essential of course when the attorney is defending the client’s life or liberty.”
Rich said he has a “fundamental disagreement” with Cannon’s intended course of action saying that in January he learned from Lorain police that Cannon is continuing his efforts to negotiate a plea agreement with them.
“Without waiving attorney-client privilege, counsel has previously warned defendant about proceeding in such a manner,” Rich said. “(Cannon) has previously written to the Lorain County prosecutor attempting to secure a plea to involuntary manslaughter and a near minimum sentence including an early agreed upon judicial release.”
Rich said Cannon is seeking an amended charge to a lesser offense and wants judicial release after three years in prison. Lorain detectives have said the “best” they would consider recommending is a 15-year flat sentence, Rich said.
Cannon also has stopped paying Rich for his legal services, according to the motion. Rich said he has not been paid in more than four months even though the agreement calls for “monthly payments in the amount of $1,000 until said fee is paid in full.”
“Counsel stopped receiving payments when he reviewed all of the evidence, attempted to advise of the weaknesses in our case, and was ultimately unable to guarantee the result (Cannon) and his family had apparently hoped to achieve by hiring private counsel,” Rich said.
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